Cyprien Richard and last-minute substitute Anemone Marmottan helped France edge Austria to win the team event gold medal yesterday at the Alpine Ski World Championships.
Both teams won two of the four parallel giant slalom races, but France took the gold because they had the faster times. Richard’s convincing win over Philipp Schoerghofer proved crucial for the tiebreaker, while Marmottan, who replaced Taina Barioz in the final, beat Michael Kirchgasser by 0.01 seconds for a key point.
Sweden, led by Anja Paerson, beat Italy 4-0 to win the bronze medal. Paerson won all four of her races, from qualifying to the bronze-medal match.
The US had a bye into the quarter-finals, but they were immediately eliminated, with Bode Miller providing the only point in a 3-1 loss to Italy.
In the team event, each nation has four runners, two men and two women, who race head-to-head against their opponents in four parallel races. Each win is worth one point.
Croatia, Germany and Sweden advanced to the last eight through qualifying. Austria then beat Croatia, France defeated Germany and Sweden beat Switzerland.
In the semi-finals, Austria beat Italy 4-0, while France squeezed past Sweden on the tiebreaker.
Anna Fenninger put Austria ahead in the final, but Richard then evened it at 1-1.
Marmottan’s narrow win over Kirchgasser put France ahead and although Romed Baumann defeated Thomas Fanara in the final heat, France won the gold on faster times. The Austrians had began celebrating before realizing that they had to settle for the silver.
“Kirchi [Kirchgasser] told us we got it, but then it wasn’t enough,” Fenninger said.
“Still, we are just as happy with the silver,” she added.
The Austrian team lost their top gate specialist Benjamin Raich to a knee injury in the quarter-finals against Croatia.
The team event, which made its debut in 2005, is not part of the Olympic program, although skiing officials hope to get it into the Olympic schedule at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The competition used to be held on the final day of the championships after many racers had already gone home, so it has now been moved into the space between the speed races and the technical events.